Bendigo Pioneers shape up

The legacy left by Ollie Wines continues to shape the Bendigo Pioneers, according to coach David Newett.

Wines, who appears a certain starter in Port Adelaide’s season opener, continues to inspire the next batch of Pioneers after an extraordinary year as captain in 2012.

“Ollie set the standard, not only with how he played but the way he trained,” Newett said

“He never complained about coming down from Echuca. He just got out there and showed the other boys what can be achieved with hard work and real intensity on the training track.

“There are a number of boys who played with Ollie last year who are really benefiting this pre-season.”

One player thriving after watching Wines become a top-10 draft pick is inside midfielder Jacob Chisari.

The hard-hitting ball winner claimed the Pioneers best-and-fairest award last season and returns alongside exciting defender Isaiah Miller.

The Pioneers also welcome back 2011 best-and-fairest Sam Heavyside and Liam Byrne.

Newett said the pair were in red hot form at the start of last year before suffering season-ending injuries.

“We’re really pleased to see those boys back after broken bones ruined their years,” he said.

Newett also tipped classy wingman Jaden McGrath and promising tall Jordan Mangan to come under scrutiny when the Vic Country squad is selected for the NAB AFL U18 Carnival.

After giving opportunities to several under-age players in 2012, Newett said the Pioneers were aiming for a much more competitive season this year.

Their campaign begins on Easter Saturday against traditional rivals North Ballarat Rebels.

Bendigo Pioneers

Coach: David Newett

2012 Ladder position: 11th (3 wins, 14 losses)

2012 Best & Fairest: Jacob Chisari

AFL AIS Academy members: Isaiah Miller, Jaden McGrath

First match: North Ballarat Rebels, Highgate Rec. Reserve, Saturday March 30


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